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Multiple Listing Service goes ‘green' with updated forms

The Oklahoma City Metro Association of Realtors is expanding its multiple listing service forms, adding fields that will help buyers zero in on green features that were relegated to the “remarks” section before, making them unsearchable.
BY DYRINDA TYSON Published: September 10, 2011

“The manufacturer suggested it,” he said.

The MLS changes also are a matter of property values. Builders might spend the extra money to put in greener features, said council affiliate member Trey Parsons, but they haven't been able to get that back in value added to the house.

“The appraisers, as a community nationwide, are behind on all that, appraising for green features and energy-efficient features in a home,” said Parsons, who owns Enersolve, an Oklahoma City energy efficiency company that works extensively with builders.

Appraisers draw their figures by comparing a house with other homes in the area with similar features, Parsons said. Without listings in the MLS and without a paper trail for the public to follow, the public had no way to find and compare green features among home listings.

“Main thing I was interested in is working for these builders and helping the appraisers, the whole community as a whole — it's kind of good for everybody — to get over this hump, to start laying that paper trail,” Parsons said.

Part of the effort means noting things on the MLS that might not be evident in a house.

“A lot of times green features are hard to recognize because they're behind the walls,” Bytyqi said. “You can't see them.”

And that may be true at the Brownstones at Maywood Park, townhomes at NE 3 and Oklahoma Avenue near downtown Oklahoma City, where the view out the windows is more likely to draw the eye than the hall closet that houses a geothermal unit. Yet the unit is one of the big selling point for buyers looking downtown, many of whom don't live in Oklahoma City full time.

“So they are looking for a smaller energy footprint,” said Realtor Peter Levinson of Keller Williams Realty in Edmond. The Brownstones range from 2½ floors to four, all featuring geothermal technology.

Among MLS changes: Both heating and cooling fields now have a “geothermal” option. And “infill” has been added to lot description, referring to properties such as the Brownstones built on vacant space within a built-up area.

Bytyqi said education is an important part of the council's mission as the green concept gains a foothold with the public.

“There's lots and lots and lots of information out there, and it changes so rapidly,” she said.

The council plans to reach out through, which Bytyqi said ultimately will be a resource for those seeking greener residences, offering videos and other information as well as links to green tradesmen.

The council has concentrated on the metro area, but its work could reach beyond, Bytyqi said.

“Anyone that's in Oklahoma will benefit from our committee's work, in my opinion,” she said.